February 11, 2021
PS752 – Multiplied sorrows
On January 8, 2020, Ukrainian International Airlines’ scheduled passenger flight PS752 was shot down shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, killing all 176 passengers and crew, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and others with ties to Canada. Some people lost their whole family, others their fiancé, their colleagues or professors. Sorrows have multiplied in the ensuing year as Iran has blocked a proper international investigation, looted or withheld victims’ belongings from the families and threatened family members for speaking out. Some in Canada have been tormented on social media.
Then on February 9 it was reported that an audio recording has become available to the Canadian government in which Iran’s Foreign Minister says one possibility among “thousands” is that the attack was deliberate, and that the truth will never be revealed by the Iranian government.
Iran has probably the fastest growing movement to Christ in the world today, but most Iranians practice Islam, often mixed with Zoroastrianism, or are secular, having given up on God after 40+ years of oppression by an extreme Islamic government. Let’s pray for secular and Muslim Iranians who are grieving without hope.
Thank You Father that by faith we have a sure hope in the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. We pray for these grieving Iranians to experience the unparalleled blessings that come from You alone:
- Compassion (Jn 11:32-35, Ps 34:18, Isa 30:18 NASB, Isa 42:3)
- Comfort (Mt 5:4, Ge 16:11b & 13, Ps 23)
- Justice (Ps 96:10-13, Ps 37:5-9, Isa 42:1-4)
- Revelation of God’s goodness revealed in Jesus Christ (Mt 11:27-30, 2 Co 4:6, Ac 4:12)
- Your shalom (Lk 4:18-19, Jn 16:33)
Arab Spring – Deferred hope
On December 17, 2010 a 26-year-old street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire in response to harassment from local government officials that prevented him from earning a living. His death catalyzed dissatisfaction with the government and resulted in street demonstrations and civil resistance, which forced Tunisia’s strong man president of 20 years to flee in January 2011. This result sparked popular pro-democracy uprisings in Arab Muslim-majority nations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Young protesters cried out for freedom and improved economic opportunities, but “Arab Spring” did not deliver. Governments fell in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. (Tunisia has been relatively stable, but unrest broke out again this January.) Civil war erupted and endures in Libya, Syria and Yemen, creating millions of internally displaced people and refugees to be absorbed in Europe and the West. ISIS arose in the chaos of Syria and Iraq. Ten years later, “even in those countries that didn’t descend into war, more Arabs are now living in poverty, more are unemployed and more are imprisoned for their political beliefs than a decade ago” (Washington Post, Jan 24/21, “The Unfinished Business of the Arab Spring”). Let’s pray for MENA, where 60% of the population is under 25 (youthpolicy.org/MENA) and living with deferred hope and even despair.
Jesus, we realize this is a spiritual battle with the religious and political spirits manifest in Islam that deny You and incur curses (Eph 6:12, Mk 8:15, 1 Jn 2:22, Ge 12:3). But Your eternal Kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36). May the Gospel of the Kingdom be preached as a testimony to MENA (Mt 24:14). We exalt Your name Jesus (“The Lord is Salvation”) over the youth of MENA, for their hope for salvation and deliverance is built on nothing less (Ac 4:12).